Textile Auntie: Sonia Delaunay

Before it’s too late, I’d like to lend my voice to the chorus of folks urging you, if possible, to go see the Sonia Delaunay show at the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York. And if you can’t make it there, make it by the shop some time soon. We’ve ordered her catalogue to offer in-store….

I had the great good fortune of visiting the museum a couple weeks ago with Kalen Kaminski, fellow textile enthusiast and maker of the Upstate indigo wraps we sell at the shop. We bypassed the Van Cleef & Arpels nonsense and went straight to the good stuff squirreled away on the second floor.

Kalen was especially taken with this knitted wool shawl. It’s dated 1925-1930. Can you believe! I mean, put a back on that thang and it looks like every other cozy, drapey, no closure cardigans I given in to wearing every day, only way more elegant and in a much more positive color–that is, not grey-ish.

I admire so much the joy and the scope of Delaunay’s work–how seamlessly her paintings transitioned into fabric, interiors, clothing, even cars and how well her consistently bold sense of proportion, and especially color, works.

As someone who’s been trying to puzzle out which few designs among stacks and stacks of gouches will make for a nice fabric, and on to a nice thing to wear, I was thrilled to see so many of Mme. Delaunay’s original gouaches beside swatches of fabrics and then on to images and examples of finished clothing. For example, gouache–


Snappy ensemble, complete with coordinating umbrella, pocketbook, and smug mug–

Marvelous, right! Grateful as I was for the help and inspiration the show provided for my present work, perhaps the most lasting gift was the final incentive to art-ify my car.

Now to find an extra long squeeze horn….(TWSS, Nilie).



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